Good Books for Book Clubs: Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Maybe In Another Life

Last week, the LIT book group discussed Maybe In Another Life, a beach read that just about fits into the chick lit genre—even if it is quite a bit fluffier than most women’s fiction. This fits nicely with our summer tradition: Each year, we choose lighter books written in a genre we wouldn’t normally read. It’s been several years since we picked a chick lit title (most recently Stay by Allie Larkin, which we loved), so this was a great change of pace for us!

Hannah Martin is 29 and in need of both direction and a real home. For years now, she’s moved from city to city, trying to find a place that she feels comfortable. The novel picks up as she returns to her home town of Los Angeles to stay with her best friend Gabby. Soon after she gets to LA, she meets her friends at a bar. When Gabby is ready to leave before Hannah, she needs to decide whether to stay and dance with her ex boyfriend Ethan or go home with her friend. At this point, the book splits into two plots: One follows if Hannah stays with Ethan, the other if she leaves with Gabby.

Why It’s Good For Book Groups
Maybe In Another Life is a great pick for a light summer read. It’s a fun book, but there are plenty of issues for a group to dig into. Because the story revolves around parallel lives, we talked quite a bit about fate and chance. While Hannah’s ex-boyfriend is important to the story, we spent far more time discussing the relationship between Gabby and Hannah. Friends since grade school, they are so close they’re practically sisters. In fact, Gabby’s parents let Hannah live with the family for several years in high school, while Hannah’s family followed her sister to London so she could pursue a dancing career. Hannah is directionless in many ways, and her efforts to ground herself and find a focus resonated with our group.

Resources We Used
LitLovers has a good set of starter questions for Maybe In Another Life. The Huffington Post interviewed the author about her unusual story structure, the role of friendship and men in her characters’ lives, and much more. As always, interviews with the author can inform a discussion and bring a new perspective.

What’s Up Next
In August we’ll be reading the Young Adult novel Gabi, A Girl In Pieces by Isabel Quintero. Our YA librarian Lizzy Klinnert recommended this title for inclusion in our adult book club collection for its compelling and funny portrayal of one very real teen girl.

About the Author:

Liz Kirchhoff is an adult services librarian at the Barrington Area Library in the Chicago suburbs. She is a longtime book reviewer and has read for the American Library Association's Notable Books Council. After her first book came out last year, Liz swore she'd never do that again (even though she probably will). Now she happily reviews books written by others.

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